The threat was clear. Vader would leave satisfied, or he would not leave at all. But overkill and the Tarkin doctrine were trademarks of the Empire now, and Vader felt he had not left enough of an impression on the assembled Hutts. “My followers are important to me,” he stated. “Perhaps as important… as family.”
Yes, the silent threat was more powerful. Every crime lord receiving the transmission, as well as Jabba himself, was aware that the Hutt was grooming his offspring Rotta to eventually grow into his position. The younger Hutt held a prominent position in the circle of holograms, as visible to all as Jabba and Vader himself.
“I will release your stormtroopers,” Jabba said, “for only one thousand Imperial credits.” The Hutt lord was determined to save face in front of his peers- he would profit from this encounter, if not today, then in the long run.
“No,” Vader replied instantly. “There will be no negotiations. You will return my men to me, and my stormtroopers and I will leave this insignificant planet.”
Jabba visibly slumped in defeat. The Hutt understood when he had been out-manuevered. He had lost, and Darth Vader was not one to be trifled with. He had made a mistake in allowing the Imperials into the system uncontested, and now he would pay the price. It was a temporary price, in the eyes of a Hutt, but it stung nonetheless. “Very well.” He gestured to his guards, a motley assortment of Klatooinians, Nikto, and Gamorreans, who assured a number of stormtroopers to Vader. They quickly left, but Vader remained. “You have what you want, now do as you have promised,” Jabba growled, but the fight had left him.
Had Vader been able to, he would have narrowed his eyes. The Hutt was learned and ancient. There were secrets he knew… and things he had forgotten. Perhaps it was time to remind the Hutt of some of these things- some of the things that had put him at the top of his chosen profession, by process of elimination. The Emperor did not wish Jabba dead, yet- it would bring more chaos than the Empire could readily control- but Vader knew where to bring force to bear to make his point.
Rotta the Hutt, watching his father and the Dark Lord of the Sith transfixed, began to feel a bit of pressure. At first, he assumed it was a rare case of heartburn- perhaps he had eaten some volatile creature that was deadly enough to upset his stomach. Then, he began to have difficulty breathing. He started to gasp, but it did him no good.
Jabba raged. “You said you would leave us!” Bounty hunters and mercenaries readied their weapons. With an internal smirk, Vader realized that Jabba’s primary bodyguard, Boba Fett, was not present.
“I am altering the deal,” Vader said dismissively. “Pray I don’t alter it any further.” He watched, seemingly uninvolved, as the young Hutt shriveled and died before the transfixed gaze of the rest of the room. Jabba knew better, as did the more powerful of the crime lords assembled before him. The few who did not know of Darth Vader’s power believed that Rotta had been killed by some secret poison- Vader and his followers were well known in such circles for their secret and deadly scientific experiments, although the details of none were known. Not by the living, in any case.
As Rotta moaned out his last breaths, Vader and those he assembled watched. It wasn’t until the young Hutt had finished the last of his death throes, the last spasm of his tail, nearly a full minute later, that he turned to leave. As when he had entered, none moved to stop him.